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Ajay Banga Charts IDA’s Path to Global Progress

World Bank Chief underscored the urgency of action, particularly with the looming demographic shift where 1.1 billion young people will enter the working-age population in the next decade….reports Asian Lite News

During the International Development Association (IDA) Midterm Review, World Bank President Ajay Banga stressed the necessity of a robust, coordinated, and all-encompassing approach to address the intricate challenges confronting today’s developing nations.

The event took place in Zanzibar, Tanzania, with Banga extending condolences for recent floods in the region, according to a release by the World Bank.

Addressing Presidents Samia Suluhu Hassan and Hussein Ali Mwinyi, Banga acknowledged the evolving mission of IDA in the face of challenges such as poverty, climate crises, food insecurity, and the aftermath of the global pandemic.

He underscored the urgency of action, particularly with the looming demographic shift where 1.1 billion young people will enter the working-age population in the next decade.

Banga said, “The landscape we face today is far more complex: declining progress in our fight against poverty, an existential climate crisis, food insecurity, fragility, a fledgling pandemic recovery, and conflict that touches lives beyond the frontlines”.

Banga added, “Meanwhile, in the next 10 years, 1.1 billion young people across the Global South will become working-age adults. Yet, in the same period and same countries, we are only expected to create 325 million jobs. The cost of inaction is unimaginable”.

Banga highlighted the necessity of reliable electricity access, pointing out that 600 million people in Africa, including 36 million in Tanzania, lack this basic necessity.

He stressed the World Bank’s commitment to creating a world free of poverty on a livable planet, outlining a vision that expands the scope of both the World Bank and IDA.

Banga said, “With $5 billion from IDA – we are on a mission to deliver reliable, affordable, renewable electricity to 100 million Africans before 2030”.

To illustrate the transformative power of electrification, Banga shared a success story from Nigeria, where an IDA-funded mini-grid system significantly improved various aspects of community life, from agriculture to healthcare and education.

Expressing the ambition to deliver reliable, affordable, renewable electricity to 100 million Africans by 2030, Banga urged for a substantial increase in funding.

He called for the next replenishment of IDA to be the largest in history, urging donors, shareholders, and philanthropies to step up.

Banga said, “Over the last 10 years, the number of items in IDA that we have been asked to measure has grown from 120 to more than 1,000. As a result, our team and governments spend more time trying to tick the box than we do delivering results”.

In addition to financial support, Banga highlighted the importance of reforms, emphasizing the need for efficiency and accessibility.

He proposed streamlining funds, creating fewer funds with more flexibility, and reducing the bureaucratic burden by focusing on impactful outcomes.

Concluding his remarks, Banga invoked the spirit of cooperation that led to the establishment of the World Bank, quoting U.S. Treasury Secretary Morgenthau’s observation that the solution was possible only due to “the goodwill, good sense, and sincerity of all the nations.”

Banga said, “After Bretton Woods, U.S. Treasury Secretary Morgenthau observed that the World Bank was the solution to one of the knottiest problems. But, he also said that the solution was made possible because “Only the goodwill, good sense and sincerity of all the nations could have found it.”

He encouraged participants to reimagine IDA’s potential and commit to its founding vision of a world where poverty is not a barrier to human potential.

The two-day event offers an opportunity for reflection and a collective commitment to the principles and vision that define IDA’s journey. (ANI)

ALSO READ: How World Bank Strengthens Central Asia’s Socio-Economic Fabric

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How World Bank Strengthens Central Asia’s Socio-Economic Fabric

The World Bank has made net commitments totalling USD 3.5 billion across seven active regional integration projects in Central Asia…reports Asian Lite News

For more than thirty years, the World Bank has consistently supported the development efforts of Central Asian countries, striving to improve living standards and promote economic growth.

According to the World Bank, embracing a forward-looking strategy, the Bank is intensifying its regional approach, promoting cross-border cooperation, dialogues, and knowledge exchange, with a particular focus on vital sectors such as energy, water, transportation, and healthcare.

Increased electricity trade among Central Asian countries could conservatively generate economic benefits of up to USD 6.4 billion between 2020 and 2030.

The World Bank has made net commitments totalling USD 3.5 billion across seven active regional integration projects in Central Asia.

Estimated costs from insufficient cooperation in the use of regional water-energy resources amount to more than USD 4.5 billion per year.

The Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program for Aral Sea Basin (CAMP4ASB) has reached nearly 135,000 beneficiaries, creating over 27,500 jobs since 2014.

CAWEP has facilitated 23 water, energy, and environmental investments worth approximately USD 3.78 billion since 2009.

A road rehabilitation project in Kyrgyz Republic since 2010 directly benefited 1.2 million people, enhancing connectivity and economic opportunities.

World Bank Plans Packages For Poorest Nations

The Kazakhstan – East West Roads Project significantly reduced cargo transportation time along the Western Europe – Western China road corridor from 45 days to 8-10 days.

Despite challenges in connectivity and climate vulnerability, the World Bank aims to turn regional coordination into a development opportunity.

The World Bank is working closely with Central Asian countries to strengthen connections in water and energy, trade and logistics, climate change, information technology, and healthcare.

A regional electricity market is being developed to harness economic benefits and enhance energy interconnectivity, emphasizing a diverse energy mix.

The Central Asia Water and Energy Program (CAWEP) has been instrumental in supporting regional cooperation, facilitating investments, and enhancing sector capacity.

Sustainable Land Management for Economic Growth:

Sustainable land management measures, including efficient irrigation systems, led to income increases for over 10,000 farmers in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The World Bank committed USD 1.3 billion to mitigate COVID-19 impacts, supplying ventilators and supporting social protection programs.

A Central Asia One Health Framework for Action is being developed to address zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and food safety.

The World Bank collaborates with various partners, including the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Union, Switzerland, United Kingdom, EBRD, IMF, USAID, UNDP, AIIB, EIB, IsDB, and others to amplify its impact.

As the World Bank marks its 30th anniversary of engagement in Central Asia, it underscores a shared vision with the countries, focusing on regional challenges and global goals. The Bank remains committed to innovative approaches and sustained collaboration, aiming for a resilient, sustainable, and prosperous future for Central Asia. (ANI)

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Business Economy India News

Mastering Indian Real Estate: Your Key is Dhananjai Agarwal’s Guide

Agarwal having spent years, living overseas is aware of these struggles and so he has covered practical solutions to such problems in his book NRI Guide to Manage Real Estate in India….reports Asian Lite News

Here is good news for NRIs who have always wished to carry a book in their hand that would unfurl the solutions page by page to address the long-standing challenges in managing their real estate assets in India.

Dhananjai Agarwal, a multifarious personality with multilingual abilities, a scholar par excellence who has unveiled a must-read guide for the NRIs titled ” NRI Guide to Manage Real Estate in India “.

Since time immemorial, NRIs have been facing the daunting tasks of managing the challenges pertaining to their self-owned or inherited real estate assets in India. The legal entanglements, the irreparable family scuffles over properties, the hassles pertaining to long distance travel and the inability to accrue a one-stop-solution, have been the most common challenges faced by NRIs.

Moreover, the book highlights on the seemingly never ending struggles of NRIs holding immovable assets in India as they are constantly caught up in a web of struggles addressing problems such as tax liabilities among a lot others. The long-time taken for legal redressals coupled with the rounds that need to be taken trying to find the right solution, almost drains off the resources as well as the patience of the NRIs.

Agarwal having spent years, living overseas is aware of these struggles and so he has covered practical solutions to such problems in his book NRI Guide to Manage Real Estate in India. This book has all the useful resources that would equip the NRI with the right knowledge, tools, and solutions and enable them to steer clear every hurdle coming in their way while addressing the various property matters in India.

“This book is a game-changer for NRIs dealing with real estate matters in India,” says Dhananjai Agarwal MD and CEO – ITSL Limited. “It’s time to break free from the shackles of the past and equip ourselves with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of property management in India. From tax liabilities to legal documentations, this book is a comprehensive guide that promises to transform the way NRIs approach and manage their real estate assets.”

“It’s time to break free from the shackles of the past and equip ourselves with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of property management in India.”

Let us extract precious pearls of wisdom from “NRI Guide to Manage Real Estate in India”:

1. Sure-shot solution: Agarwal uses his 30 years of expertise and experience in the real estate domain to provide practical solutions to long-standing problems faced by NRIs be it pertaining to immovable properties, legalities or by providing personalized and tailored solutions to their specific real estate related challenges.

2. Valuable knowledge dissemination: Right from addressing tax liabilities, legal documentations, and timely responses to compliance notices, Agarwal shares insights and value additions for the optimum benefit of the NRIs so that they are equipped to face any challenges coming their way and are ready to make informed decisions.

3. Practical guide on how to manage assets from afar: This book throws light on the realistic scenarios and opens up one’s minds to believe in a more practical solution than be guided by the emotional or imposed beliefs set by family traditions.

4. Save time, effort and money: Right from getting the right direction, right resources and easy access to concerned Indian authorities for redresses and solutions pertaining to various real estate challenges to saving time and effort making countless trips to India, this book is indeed a blessing for the NRIs.

Reach out to your nearest leading bookstores and online retailers to lay your hands on this incredible book. To know more about the book or to schedule an interview with Dhananjai Agarwal, please reach out to .

Dhananjai Agarwal, MD and CEO – ITSL Limited is a multifarious personality – a stalwart, a multilingual expert, an avid traveller, a successful entrepreneur and professional with over 30 years of expertise across Real Estate and Finance domains. He is the author of the book ‘NRI Guide to Manage Real Estate in India’. This book is a ready reckoner that empowers NRIs with the knowledge and tools required to mitigate the challenges and seamlessly manage their real estate assets in India.

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-Top News China Economy

China Faces $11 Trillion Hidden Debt Crisis

Chinese authorities recognise the severe risks to financial stability and overall growth, prompting a systematic approach to address the problem…reports Asian Lite News

China is facing a looming financial crisis as it endeavours to address a colossal hidden debt problem within its banking system, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Cities and provinces across the nation have amassed a staggering amount of undisclosed debt through years of unchecked borrowing and spending, with estimates ranging from USD 7 trillion to USD 11 trillion in off-balance-sheet government debt, including corporate bonds issued by local government financing vehicles.

The extent of the issue remains uncertain, but it has become evident that local governments’ debt levels are unsustainable amid slowing economic growth and deflationary pressures. Economists warn that a significant portion of the hidden debt, estimated between USD 400 billion and over USD 800 billion, is at high risk of default, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese authorities recognise the severe risks to financial stability and overall growth, prompting a systematic approach to address the problem. They are initiating efforts to replace some hidden debt with new, explicit government debt, aiming to avert a wave of defaults that could lead to a nationwide financial crisis.

Yao Yu, founder of YY Rating, emphasises the potential consequences: “Once a local-government financing vehicle defaults, the situation can easily get out of hand.” These financing vehicles represent a significant portion of China’s domestic corporate bond market, and defaults could disrupt funding for other borrowers.

China’s central government has expressed the importance of preventing and resolving the risk of hidden debts. In November, authorities warned that bankers and local government officials would be held accountable for life if they engaged in new hidden debt issuance. The People’s Bank of China governor, Pan Gongsheng, pledged emergency liquidity support to regions burdened with high debt.

Moody’s Investors Service recently lowered its outlook on China’s credit rating to negative, citing increased support for financially stressed local governments and state-owned enterprises, along with risks to economic growth, according to The Wall Street Journal.

China has grappled with hidden debt risks for over a decade, with previous efforts between 2015 and 2018 attempting to address the issue. However, local governments, under pressure to stimulate growth, embarked on another borrowing spree. UBS reports that domestic banks’ exposure to local government financing vehicles was around USD 6.9 trillion at the end of last year, representing about 13 per cent of the banking sector’s total assets.

Financial strains are emerging as some cities and provinces face challenges due to a property downturn and extensive spending to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Urgent measures include the issuance of special refinancing bonds to replace off-balance-sheet debt, with around USD 200 billion raised in such bonds by nearly 30 Chinese provinces and cities since October.

While these efforts aim to alleviate immediate liquidity problems, sceptics argue that they represent more of a refinancing plan than a restructuring plan. The potential long-term impact on China’s economic growth is a concern, as fiscal resources may increasingly be allocated to debt repayment. A fundamental solution involves restructuring local government financing vehicles’ debt to make them commercially viable entities, a challenging task in itself, The Wall Street Journal reported. (ANI)

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‘India Poised to Become Third-Largest Economy by 2030’

According to the S&P Global Credit Outlook India’s GDP growth is forecast to hit 6.4 percent by 2024, 6.9 percent by 2025 and 7.0 percent by 2026….reports Asian Lite News

As the world navigates through dynamic economic landscapes, the S&P Global Credit Outlook for 2024 places a spotlight on India’s pivotal role in shaping the global economy.

According to S&P Global, India standing at the forefront of this economic transformation, is poised to become the third-largest economy by 2030, showcasing robust and rapid growth unparalleled among major economies.

According to the S&P Global Credit Outlook India’s GDP growth is forecast to hit 6.4 percent by 2024, 6.9 percent by 2025 and 7.0 percent by 2026.

Despite nuanced shifts in growth forecasts across the globe, India emerges as a beacon of economic potential and growth. India’s growth trajectory remains optimistic, fuelled by strategic initiatives.

With a strategic emphasis on manufacturing, India aims to become a global manufacturing hub, presenting a significant opportunity for economic advancement. To support this transition, building a robust logistics framework and upskilling the workforce, along with fostering increased female participation, becomes imperative.

India’s demographic dividend, a considerable asset, hinges on unlocking the labour market’s full potential. Furthermore, the nation’s burgeoning digital market is poised to amplify the growth of its start-up ecosystem, particularly in financial and consumer technology.

The automotive sector, backed by infrastructure, investment, and innovation, positions India for substantial growth.

The credit outlook also highlights the transformative global supply chain reconfiguration.

India, with its strong ties to the US and eurozone markets, emerges as a key beneficiary in this paradigm shift. Alongside Asian counterparts like Vietnam, India is attracting attention in this arena.

Beyond economic dynamics, the report emphasizes broader challenges such as climate change, technological disruptions, and geopolitical tensions.

The landscape of 2024 holds a significant number of national elections globally, adding a layer of uncertainty.

In this context, India’s strategic moves and economic resilience position it as a linchpin in the evolving global economic tapestry.

As India navigates these challenges and opportunities, its choices and policies are expected to reverberate globally, underscoring its pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of the world economy in the years to come.

In the latest projections, S&P Global Credit Outlook also shows that the U.S. and Eurozone maintain steady growth forecasts, while notable revisions surface in the big emerging markets, particularly China and India.

China’s economic pace has moderated, marked by challenges in the property sector despite government stimuli.

The recent approval of a substantial sovereign bond issue and adjustments to bond quotas contribute to a real GDP growth forecast of 5.4 per cent for 2023 and 4.6 per cent for 2024.

However, persistent issues in the real estate sector pose hurdles, impacting cash flows for developers and local and regional government’s revenue sources.

RS Discusses Country’s Economic Situation

The Rajya Sabha is likely to continue the discussion, initiated on Tuesday, on the prevailing economic situation in the country, as the Parliament convenes on Day 3 of the ongoing Winter Session on Wednesday.

According to sources, the discussion on a short-duration notice on the economic situation in the country, which was initiated by Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien on Tuesday, is to be continued in the Upper House on Wednesday.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to table a statement showing the Supplementary Demands for Grants, 2023-24, sources said.

Further, BJP MP Sumer Solanki and Biju Janata Dal MP Niranjan Bishi are likely to initiate a discussion on the Study Visit Report of the Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to Havelock Island, Port Blair, Mahabalipuram and Mumbai from August 24, 2023 to August 29, 2023 in the Upper House.

According to sources, Aam Aadmi Party MP Ashok Kumar Mittal and Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai are also likely to table the Twenty Fifth Report of the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs (Seventeenth Lok Sabha) on Action Taken by the Government on the Observations/Recommendations contained in the Twentieth Report of the Committee on Demands for Grants of the Ministry of External Affairs for the year 2023-24.

On the second day of the Winter Session, on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha saw a debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

On Monday, the first day of the Winter Session, two Bills were tabled and passed, with the Rajya Sabha also deciding to lift the suspension of AAP MP Raghav Chadha.

The Standing Committee reports on ‘The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023’, ‘The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023’, and ‘The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023’ were also tabled in the two Houses.

The Winter Session will culminate on December 22. (ANI)

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Business Economy India News

India’s Gold Appetite Influences Global Economy

Alok Kumar Choudhary noted that despite the absence of the gold standard, numerous banks, including the RBI, persist in maintaining gold reserves as an essential element of their overall holdings…reports Asian Lite News

India as the second-largest buyer of gold in the world can play a crucial role in the global economic order as central banks are still buying the precious metal in large quantities, Alok Kumar Choudhary, Managing Director, State Bank of India (SBI), said on Friday.

“We have also seen how India can be the fulcrum in setting up global economic corridor,” he said while addressing the 15th International Gold Economic Forum organised here by ASSOCHAM.

While the gold standard might not be in place anymore, several banks including the RBI continue to hold gold reserves as a staple component of their overall reserves, he added.

“In an interconnected world, economic ties transcend borders and gold’s role as common accepted asset can foster a sense of stability and potentially contribute to a more integrated, co-operative global economic system. Banks as critical stakeholders in the financial ecosystem play an important role in formalising gold to ensure the integrity of the financial system,” Choudhary said.

Addressing the gathering, Dr. C. Rangarajan, former Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and former RBI Governor, said: “Gold has been a tangible asset since ancient times, in all cultures and across all periods of history. While held as reserve by central banks, it no longer plays the role of intermediary in circulation. As the second largest consumer of gold, India accounts for one-fourth of the global demand. India’s import of gold was 394 tons in 2000 and 774 tons in 2022 or $135 million. In 2022-23, gold imports accounted for 52.2 per cent of the current account deficit. The current level of import duty on gold is reasonable and is among the lowest among commodities.”

Somasundaram P.R., Regional CEO – India, World Gold Council, said: “Gold is a very good diversifier, it de-risks your portfolio and enables you to take more risk in other financial asset classes. India, as a gold consumer, can also be proud to have HUID technology through which every piece of jewellery hallmarked can be traced to its origins, which is aspirational in other markets.”

Suvanker Sen, Co-Chairman, National Council on Commodity Markets – ASSOCHAM, said: “Consumer behaviour over the years in India has proven that we trust in gold. The various initiatives undertaken by all stakeholders has achieved a lot but a lot more can be done. The growth of the country is closely linked with the rise of gold as an asset. The 25,000 tons of gold that is embedded in our economy is one major driver.”

S.C. Aggarwal, Senior Member, Managing Committee – ASSOCHAM, said: “Gold has multiple usage, as an ornament, it is a status symbol and an investment as well. India needs around 800 tons of gold every year necessitating imports which increases our trade deficit.”

ALSO READ: Challenges Beneath India’s GDP Growth Numbers

Business Economy India News

Challenges Beneath India’s GDP Growth Numbers

Looking into the growth in perspective, he points out that the country’s GDP took a hit before and during the pandemic, so the current spike in growth isn’t entirely unexpected…reports Asian Lite News

A study paper on India’s economic growth underscores that the slow recovery from the pandemic, dominance of non-productive sectors in driving growth, and imbalanced investment patterns should make one pause and reconsider the growth strategy before celebrating.

The paper of L.T. Abhinav Surya of the prestigious Centre for Development Studies here points out that people are buzzing about India’s economic growth predictions for 2023-24, expecting a good year ahead after experts from the RBI and IMF have backed this optimism, projecting a solid 6.5 per cent and 6.3 per cent growth, respectively.

“Recent figures on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first half of 2023-24 seem promising, showing a robust 7.7 per cent growth compared to the previous year. Many are praising India as a key player in the global economic rebound post-pandemic,”.

“However, diving deeper into these numbers calls for a more realistic view. India’s share of the world GDP has increased from 3.25 per cent in 2019 to 3.39 per cent in 2022, a rise of 14 basis points.

On the other hand, between 2016 and 2019, it increased by 24 basis points, from 3.01 per cent to 3.25 per cent .

Hence, the growth rate hasn’t been significantly higher post-pandemic compared to before.

Moreover, there are concerns about persistently high unemployment rates, rising inflation, and other social and economic issues that don’t always get highlighted in these big headline numbers,” states Surya’s study.

Looking into the growth in perspective, he points out that the country’s GDP took a hit before and during the pandemic, so the current spike in growth isn’t entirely unexpected.

“When we look closely at the numbers, the annual GDP growth rate has been a sluggish 3.27 per cent between 2019-20 and 2022-23. This indicates a slow recovery from the COVID-19 shock. Even comparing the GDP between the first half of 2023-24 and 2019-20, the average growth rate has been only 3.65 per cent. So, while the recent numbers seem impressive, they are not as remarkable when we consider the bigger picture”.

Explaining in detail, it further pointed out that similar to the trajectory of any developed country, India’s GDP growth over the last decade has seen a decline in the primary sector (agriculture and related activities), whose share in Gross Value Added (GVA) has declined from 18.5 per cent in 2011-12 to 15.1 per cent in 2022-23, but a complementary rise in the industrial sector, which could boost productivity, has not occurred-its share has remained stagnant at around 22 per cent.

“What’s worrisome is that the share lost by the primary sector has been absorbed mainly by the Finance and Real Estate sector, which many experts consider non-productive. Its share has risen from 18.9 per cent in 2011-12, to 21.9 per cent on the eve of the pandemic in 2019-20, to 22.5 per cent in 2022-23. This means the value created in other sectors often ends up being redirected into these areas without creating new value. This trend has continued even during the pandemic, with this sector showing growth while others struggled.

“Even during first half of 2023-24, with an 8.8 per cent year-on-year growth, this sector has been leading the rebound in growth. This shift should be a cause for concern rather than celebration”.

The study adds that some might highlight the growth in the manufacturing sector post-pandemic, but it must be remembered that it had already seen a downturn before the pandemic hit. Adjusting for this, the actual annual growth rate of 3 per cent between 2018-19 and 2022-23 and 3.76 per cent between the first half of 2018-19 and 2023-24, isn’t as high as it might seem.

This is also reflected in the manufacturing sector’s Index for Industrial Production (IIP), whose growth rate has been much lower in comparison to the pre-pandemic period. Hence, the numbers indicate that the non-productive sectors are the ones driving the recovery.

Yet another aspect drawing attention is investment, measured by Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF). Its share in GDP, after witnessing a prolonged period of decline from 34.3 per cent in 2011-12 to 31.1 per cent in 2020-21, bounced back recently, reaching 35.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2023-24, mainly due to increased government capital expenditure.

However, this rise in government investment has come at the expense of reduced investments by Public Corporations, leading to stagnation in the overall public investment ratio.

The study adds that most of the increased investment has been in infrastructure, which is beneficial but primarily reduces costs for businesses.

If the current growth in fixed investment is a continuation of this trend, our long-term success might be at risk. He concludes stating that it isn’t time yet for stating celebrating.

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-Top News Canada Economy

Challenges Mount as Canada’s Job Openings Shrink

The number of unfilled positions decreased in four sectors: accommodation and food services, construction, finance and insurance, and public administration….reports Asian Lite News

Canada’s job vacancies declined by 40,700, or 6.1 per cent, to 632,200 in September, continuing the steady downward trend from the peak of just over 1 million reached in May 2022, according to the national statistical agency.

Statistics Canada said that the country’s job vacancies in September were at their lowest level since February 2021, and total labour demand, which corresponds to the sum of filled and vacant positions, declined for the third consecutive month, Xinhua news agency reported.

The job vacancy rate, which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand, decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.6 per cent in September, the lowest level since January 2021, the national statistical agency said.

The number of unfilled positions decreased in four sectors: accommodation and food services, construction, finance and insurance, and public administration.

These decreases were partially offset by more vacancies in educational services, and information and cultural industries, it added.

There were 1.9 unemployed persons for every job vacancy in September, up from 1.8 in August and 1.2 at the start of the year.

The increase in the unemployment-to-job vacancy ratio was driven by fewer vacancies, as the number of unemployed persons was little changed in September, Statistics Canada said.

Suicide crisis helpline launched

 The Canadian government has launched 988, a new three-digit suicide crisis helpline to provide suicide prevention support.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement that the helpline is available to call or text, in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, across the country, reports Xinhua news agency

According to the statement, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health leads the coordination of 988 service delivery, building on its experience delivering Talk Suicide Canada.

An experienced network of partners has trained responders ready to answer 988 calls and texts.

Responders will provide support and compassion without judgment.

They help callers and texters explore ways to keep themselves safe when things are overwhelming.

Suicide continues to be a serious public health issue impacting people of all ages and backgrounds.

An average of 4,500 people across Canada die by suicide each year, approximately 12 people per day, the statement said.

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Business Economy India News

MODIFI Aligns Growth with ‘Make in India’

MODIFI has been a catalyst in supporting Indian businesses and entrepreneurs with over $1.5 billion in cross-border financing since it began its operations in India….reports Asian Lite news

MODIFI, a global FinTech platform, on Thursday announced an ambitious expansion strategy to enhance its presence in the Indian market, which is aligned with the company’s commitment to bolstering the country’s SME trade sector.

MODIFI is projecting a substantial increase in its Indian operations, targeting aggressive growth in its business within the country by 2024. This expansion builds on an already impressive 1,000x business growth since the company’s launch in India in 2019.

MODIFI has been a catalyst in supporting Indian businesses and entrepreneurs with over $1.5 billion in cross-border financing since it began its operations in India.

“India is a crucial market for us, and our expansion is in tandem with the country’s economic growth and aspirations,” said Nelson Holzner, CEO and Co-founder of MODIFI.

“Our solutions are designed to bridge the financing and payment gaps for Indian SMEs, helping them to emerge as key players on the global manufacturing stage by addressing critical issues like working capital access, effective payment solutions, and risk management,” he added.

The initiative comes in response to the challenges faced by SMEs in navigating traditional cross-border payment and financing methods, which are often cumbersome, costly, and opaque.

These conventional systems tend to favour larger corporations, leaving SMEs in need of more efficient and tailored solutions.

MODIFI is addressing this gap with innovative digital solutions that enable SMEs to compete globally with the efficiency and scale of larger enterprises.

“Our expertise in cross-border fintech solutions has been instrumental in driving exponential growth for Indian businesses. For instance, we’ve seen a leading Indian manufacturing company achieve a tenfold increase in turnover, surpassing Rs 5,000 crore,” said Sachin Nigam, Head of Sales, MODIFI India.

In light of the challenges faced by small and medium-sized manufacturers in dealing with larger buyers, MODIFI is committed to changing the dynamics and promoting equitable and sustainable business relationships.

“Partnering with MODIFI has revolutionised our financial operations. We can now reinvest funds previously tied up in invoices into growth-enhancing initiatives. MODIFI’s support in financing our manufacturers has been pivotal, allowing us to trade with confidence and minimise risk, setting the stage for further expansion,” said the CEO of a leading Bengaluru-based Readymade Garments Exporter

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-Top News Asia News Economy

Pragmatic Kazakhstan becoming Singapore of Eurasia

Counting on Alatau, Kazakh authorities plan to replicate the success of business hubs like Dubai, Singapore, and Tianjin by creating favorable conditions and incentives for investments and commerce….writes Sergei Strokan

Less than two years after abrupt departure of its first president Nursultan Nazarbayev, known as elbasy or “father of all Kazakhs,” Kazakhstan, the largest state of the former Soviet Central Asia is  abandoning old-style politics. Shedding its  ineffective economic model, it is turning into a newly emerging democracy and regional economic power hub.

Showing the ambition to create the new face of Kazakhstan, which was largely seen as a mere post-Soviet autocracy and a country of laughable Borart in an award-winning Hollywood movie, Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov unveiled a plan to build a new city of Alatau which would serve as a business center of top international standards.

It is expected that the new business capital Alatau will increase the volume of trade and investment cooperation with China and Central Asian countries and enable Kazakhstan to launch a number of lucrative industrial and commercial projects while opening the window wide to advanced international experience in various industries.

Pinning high hopes on Alatau, Kazakh authorities say they will  follow  the experience of world  business centers like Dubai, Singapore and Tianjin, providing conditions and incentives for attracting investments and doing business.

The new city will be erected on the site of the village of Zhetygen, located 50 kilometers North from the country’s old Soviet capital  Alma-Ata. Currently, 20 thousand people live in the village which is geared to surprise the Eurasian region.

According to the development plan, the integrated city Alatau with a population of some 2.2 million will consist of four thematic areas: a business and financial center, an educational and medical hub, an innovative industrial and trade and logistics zone, and a tourist cluster.

The plan to build a new world-class business center came as a follow-up to the decision of the government of the Almaty region, taken this March, to create a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with an area of 30 thousand hectares, which received the name “Alatau”. The Kazakh authorities reported that the SEZ “Alatau” would provide a favorable climate for attracting domestic and foreign investments.

In another development, on a recent visit to neighbouring Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev  said his country is ready to increase exports of its products to the countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) worth $2.3 billion.

“Our countries have great opportunities for expanding trade and mutually beneficial cooperation. Already today we note the steady growth of trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the SPECA member countries. Last year, the volume of mutual trade increased by a third and amounted to about $10 billion. In the foreseeable future, we have every opportunity to double this indicator. We are able to provide each other with various goods at competitive prices, reducing imports from other countries. Kazakhstan is ready to increase exports of its products to SPECA countries for 175 non-primary commodity items worth $2.3 billion,” President Tokayev said.

According to the Kazakh leader, the creation of green corridors  for business and the removal of various barriers will give a significant impetus to trade cooperation in such sectors as construction, chemical and food industries. “We are also ready to consider the promising proposals of our partners,” President Tokayev said.

The SPECA programme was established in 1998 with the aim of promoting the development of economic cooperation and integration of the countries of the region into the world economy. The member States of the program are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

The new ambitions of Kazakhstan to emerge as a center of economic power are not seen as groundless.  The mission of the International Monetary Fund, which visited the country at the end of November, gave a positive assessment of the liberal reforms implemented in the country. According to the IMF, the growth rate of Kazakhstan’s economy in 2023 will be 4.8%. Despite the global instability and decline, business activity in Kazakhstan continues to grow.

It is noteworthy that many of the recommendations of the IMF echo President Tokayev’s   key-note address  “The Economic course of a fair Kazakhstan”, made this  September. The main idea of the new economic strategy is switching Kazakhstan, rich in natural resources, from dependence on extractive industries to developing processing industries and manufacturing sector.

To implement this task, the authorities of Kazakhstan intend to increase the attractiveness of the economy for large investors. In addition to that, a new Tax Code is expected to be adopted as part of the economic reforms implemented in the country.

After the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February last year, the leading European states intensified their efforts to make Kazakhstan cooperation with the European Union and  gradually withdrawing from its strategic partnership with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron has recently thrown his hat into the race in the struggle for leadership on the post-Soviet space on the famous Zbignev Brzezinski chessboard. Early November the French leader went on a trip to Central Asia, with a visit to Kazakhstan becoming a key point.  “Our task is to enhance our presence in this region, which is familiar to us and our American partners for a long time,” the press service of the Elysee Palace said.

The French delegation to Kazakhstan included the heads of 15 companies, including energy EDF, uranium mining Orano and Suez, which deals with water supply and sewerage system.

The main event of the visit was a meeting of the Kazakh-French business forum, which was attended by Presidents Macron and Tokayev. The dialogue did not start from scratch. The French business has long established itself in Kazakhstan, ranking eighth among its foreign partners. The volume of French investments in Kazakhstan has already exceeded $17 billion. There are about 170 enterprises with the participation of French capital working in the country, including such companies as Total, Airbus and Air Liquide.

In a wrap-up comment to the business forum, the press service of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev distributed a message stating: “The President outlined a number of promising areas for mutual cooperation. The energy sector is among the priorities. Kazakhstan remains one of the main suppliers of crude oil to the French market, and our country is ready to increase exports. In addition, there is great potential in the field of oil and gas exploration, uranium export, implementation of major projects in the field of wind, solar and hydropower.”

The uranium topic during the negotiations in Astana, perhaps, became the most intriguing for several reasons at once.

Firstly, Kazakhstan ranks first in the list of world uranium producers, providing more than a quarter of the nuclear fuel consumed in Europe. Given that the nuclear industry accounts for 63% of France’s energy sector, Paris’ interest in Kazakh uranium is obvious.

Secondly, France’s interest in Kazakh uranium is due to the uncertain prospects for Paris for obtaining uranium from Niger, a traditional supplier of France, which passed through  a recent coup d’etat that could change a lot in the policy of this African country.

Meanwhile, just a week after President Macron trip, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid his own visit to Kazakhstan. His visit coincided  with the 10th anniversary of the signing of the “Treaty on Good Neighborliness and Alliance in the XXI Century” between Kazakhstan and Russia. During his visit, Vladimir Putin called Kazakhstan “the closest of all Russia’s allies.”

The volume of trade between Russia and Kazakhstan reached $ 27 billion, at the end of eight months of this year — a record figure.

Over the past three years, the trade turnover has increased by more than 30%, and almost two years out of that time was the period of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the war of sanctions which were not followed by Kazakhstan.

Moscow and Astana are implementing 143 projects in the field of industrial cooperation worth over $ 33 billion, while Russia remains the leader in the number of enterprises with foreign capital in Kazakhstan. More than 20 thousand Russian companies are registered in the country.

In turn, the Kazakh authorities make it clear that the painful dilemma “Russia or the West” doesn’t exist for them. In pursuing its present-day sovereign policy, Astana rather intends to focus on the interests of its national business not allowing rivalry centers of power to involve itself in “friendship against” or in a zero-sum game.

(India Narrative)

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